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The Harder They Come (1972)

The ultimate Jamaican reggae classic on the big screen in Melkweg Cinema on Friday, May 27, 2022.

On Friday May 27 at 8pm we will show the ultimate Jamaican reggae classic, 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗛𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗲 (1972/2019), during the fourth edition of 𝗥𝗲𝗴𝗴𝗮𝗲 𝗖𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗰𝘀 at 𝗠𝗲𝗹𝗸𝘄𝗲𝗴 𝗖𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗺𝗮! It concerns a completely new scan of the original footage, so that the film looks and sounds better than ever before! And of course there are again Jamaican snacks from 𝗥𝗲𝗴𝗴𝗮𝗲 𝗥𝗶𝘁𝗮 and reggae tunes as soon as you enter the theatre.

𝗥𝗲𝗴𝗴𝗮𝗲 𝗖𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗰𝘀: 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗛𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗲
Date: Friday May 27 2022
Time: 8pm (doors open: 7.30pm)
Venue: Melkweg Cinema
Title: 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗛𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗲
Director: Perry Henzell
Country: Jamaica
Year: 1972/2019
Duration: 109 min
Language: Jamaican English (patois) with English subtitles
Tickets: €12,50 (incl. Jamaican goodiebag from 𝗥𝗲𝗴𝗴𝗮𝗲 𝗥𝗶𝘁𝗮)
Ticket link:

𝗦𝘆𝗻𝗼𝗽𝘀𝗶𝘀 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗛𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗲
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗛𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗲 is misschien al 50 jaar oud, het is nog steeds ‘de meest invloedrijke Jamaicaanse film en een van de belangrijkste films uit het Caribisch gebied’, zoals de gerenommeerde filmwetenschapper Barbara Mennel het misdaaddrama van Perry Henzell ooit beschreef. Met het verhaal van ‘original rude boy’ Ivan Martin zette regisseur Perry Henzell zichzelf en de Jamaicaanse en Caribische filmindustrie in 1972 op de kaart. Wanneer de jonge Jamaicaan Ivan Martin (gespeeld door reggaezanger Jimmy Cliff) naar Kingston verhuist, probeert hij zijn droom om reggaezanger te worden te verwezenlijken. Wanneer zijn carrière niet van de grond komt, laat hij zich in met drugsdealers en corrupte producenten. In Jamaica werd de film een enorme hit, maar ook in de Verenigde Staten en later elders was de populariteit groot. 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗛𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗲 was niet alleen de eerste Jamaicaanse speelfilm, het was ook de film die reggae introduceerde aan de rest van de wereld. Jimmy Cliff, wiens personage losjes was gebaseerd op het leven van Rhygin, een Jamaicaanse ‘outlaw folk hero’ uit de jaren vijftig, leverde hier met zijn rol en met nummers als ‘Many Rivers to Cross’, ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want’ en, natuurlijk, ‘The Harder They Come’, een grote bijdrage aan. Kortom, een absolute aanrader voor elke reggaefan en filmliefhebber!

From The Harder They Come to Yardie; The Reggae-Ghetto Aesthetics of the Jamaican Urban Crime Film
by Emiel Martens

Abstract In this essay I explore the Jamaican and Jamaican diasporic urban crime films that have appeared over the past fifty years. In these films, downtown Kingston, the impoverished inner-city of Jamaica’s capital, has been commonly portrayed as an ambivalent crime-ridden-but-music-driven space, violent yet vibrant. First, I place these Jamaican ghetto films in the context of the wider tradition of the black urban crime film that appeared in parallel with the liberation movements in Latin America and Africa from the 1950s and developed in dialectic with black city cinema and accented cinema in North America and Europe from the 1970s. Then, I present the history of the Jamaican urban crime film in two parts. The first part contains a discussion of the development of the genre from the 1970s until the 1990s, starting with The Harder They Come (1972) and some immediate successors and ending with Dancehall Queen (1997) and Third World Cop (1999), the two most successful Jamaican films to date. In the second part, I discuss the low-budget “gangsta” films made by Jamaican American filmmakers since the 2000s, as well as the bigger-budget (trans)national productions that were either partially or completely set in Kingston throughout the 2010s, with Yardie (2018) as most recent example. Taking into account the production and reception of these films, I will use the concept of reggae-ghetto aesthetics to characterize the portrayal of downtown Kingston in Jamaican city cinema.

Continue reading here.

The Rastafarian: from pariah to hero in Jamaican literary discourse form the 1950s to the 1980s
by Aart G. Broek

The early days of the Rastafari movement are rooted in Jamaica in the 1930s, where over the following decades, Rastafarians gradually came to be more positively viewed, especially by the non-propertied classes and a growing number of literary figures. With the rapid rise in the popularity of reggae music around 1970 the Rastafari movement would come to be a powerful symbol of the struggle for justice and against exploitation in Jamaica and beyond. The detested and strange Rastaman prior to 1960 thus became the highly esteemed and prominent Rastaman in the 1970s and 1980s. This social process has been nicely documented; Van Dijk (1993) and Chevannes (1994) being two amongst the scholars who write about this change in appeal and status during the 1990s, by which time it had become obvious to all. It will come as no surprise, then, that this transformation from pariah to hero can also be found in Jamaican literature.
In such novels as Brother man (1954) by Roger Mais, The children of Sisyphus (1964) by Orlando Patterson, The late emancipation of Jerry Stover (1968) by Andrew Salkey, Escape to  Last Man Peak (1975) by Jean D’Costa, Ikael Torass (1976) by N.D. Williams, The harder they come (1980) by Michael Thelwell, and We shall not die (1983) by Clyde Knight, the Rastafari movement and reggae play a central role. These novels provide a widely divergent view of the Rastafarians and the music associated with them, a view that depends on the changing attitudes toward them by outsiders, including the novelists in question.

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